Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Phenomenological Study of Former Prisoners’ Experiences of Prison Education Programs in the United States
by Ellis, Pamela, Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2020, 122; 28150760
Abstract (Summary)

The United States imprisons more people than any other country. The large number of prisoners is expensive for the states and federal government to maintain. Review of the literature reveals that 93% of inmates are released back into society. The significant return of former inmates back to the community further underscores the need to find solutions for recidivism, the return to prison for reengaging in criminal activity. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to interview former inmates about their perceptions of prison education programs and to understand if their education helped them to make better choices and refrain from engaging in criminal behavior. The problem addressed by this study is the recidivism of male ex-offenders, ages 20-40, in Texas. The study sample was 15 male former inmates between the ages of 20-40, who live in Texas and had been released from prison between six months to two years. The framework for the study were the constructs of motivation, the legitimacy of the justice system, learning as an element of personal transformation, and individual understanding of one’s life purpose. The interview questions were crafted to elicit responses from the participants that would reveal the extent to which knowledge, personal development, and interaction with others created an experience of their education programs. The knowledge acquired from their education programs informed their expanded understanding of their interface between the world and the people with whom they have contact. The participants shared what they felt was important and to the degree they felt comfortable providing information about their experiences. A summary of main points of the interviews formed the basis to identify emerging themes. As society grapples with crime and deterrence, there will continue to be a need for research on recidivism. During the period of this study legislation was passed to address some of the issues plaguing the criminal justice system. The necessity for this study is to add to the body of knowledge about recidivism.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jenkins, Chris
Commitee: Reedy, David, Shriner, Michael
School: Northcentral University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education, Adult education, Criminology, Law, Public policy, Public administration
Keywords: College, Incarceration, Inmate, Prisoner experiences, Prison education programs, United States, Criminal behavior, Justice system, Personal transformation , Life purpose, Recidivism
Publication Number: 28150760
ISBN: 9798691230639
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